What happens when a man questioning religion goes looking for answers in a theocracy?
The author is a somewhat lapsed Mennonite. Unable to figure out his views on God, Kroeker (Motorcycle Therapy: A Canadian Adventure in Central America, 2006) decided to ride a motorcycle from Germany to Iran. Though other motivations were hazy at best, the idea stuck, and he embarked. Getting into Iran was no easy task, and in the process of attempting it, the author encountered a barrage of obstacles as well as friendly and open people who were willing to take him under their wings. Much of what happens is amusing, and all of it was educational for Kroeker. He learned that in many cases, the people he spoke to would prefer a more liberal government, but he is astute enough to know that those who didn’t would probably not want to discuss the matter with a Westerner. This understanding of nuance and his own limitations make his journey a joy to follow. Kroeker provides plenty of from-the-gut laughs without ever giving the impression that he doesn’t take his surroundings or subject matter seriously. This is an impressive and necessary feat when juggling such a volatile combination, and he handles it with aplomb. The accompanying photographs are what one would expect from a man out to commemorate a personal trip rather than to professionally document the scenes he encountered. Perhaps the best thing about the book, though, is that Kroeker doesn’t neatly sum up his problems with his faith. “Though I had failed to see it earlier,” he writes, “part of the motivation was to search out God from another vantage point….All my life I’ve sought God through a lens, as we all do, but it’s a long lens. Through it, you just can’t see everything.”
Pragmatic yet still beautiful and hopeful.